For the past six weeks, I have been teaching our Sunday school kids a running Bible lesson on the character of God; e.g., God is my fortress, God is my light, God is my shepherd, God is my song, etc. It has been really encouraging to see the children’s eyes open up as they grasp the awesomeness of our God. One week I mentioned that we should have a good song that should remind us of God. One child told me on the fifth week that she now sings a song that reminds her that God is there with her during her most terrifying times. She confided in me that she fears the most when her parents argue at night.
Fast forward a few more weeks. I received a call from my mom early in the morning. I called back but got no response. A few hours later, I got a call from my brother telling me that our dad was in the hospital after suffering a stroke. His right side was now paralyzed. I spoke to my dad, and he seemed in good spirits. My mom felt the same way. However, I was really heartbroken. Although my parents had a good support team of family and friends locally, I was thousands of miles away, not able to hug him and kiss his cheek, assuring him everything was going to be okay. My parents have always been there for their boys, and I felt helpless not being able to wrap my arms around them during this difficult time.
A few days later, thanks to Bro Dan Hubbard and Team Peru, I was on a plane, heading to Chicago to visit my dad. It was a long journey filled with missed connecting flights and irate TSA agents. I couldn’t eat the entire journey, as my stomach was in knots. I read the Bible during my long standbys, and a specific verse stood out, Psalm 46:10. I finally arrived a whole 24 hours later. Not wanting to inconvenience anyone during this difficult time, I kept my travel plans to myself. I arrived at O’Hare Airport and took public transportation all the way to the hospital in Munster, Indiana. I was very saddened to see my strong, active dad now confined to a bed, unable to fully move his body. A few tears were shed as I hugged him. That meant a lot to me, as I have never seen my father cry.
That night and the remainder of my visit, I stayed at my parent’s house. The first morning as I made my way out of their house, I spotted a frame sitting on their porch. It was a framed painting of Psalm 46:10. I started to cry there on their porch, not out of sadness but out of relief, as I knew that God was trying to reassure me that everything was going to be okay. I didn’t need a song in that moment to remind me of God’s awesomeness, but I sang anyway. I spent that week assisting my dad through his therapies. Due to my limited time in the States, I would spend as close to the entire day with him as possible. The therapies were rough on him. He was more frustrated than anything else. We prayed every night that God would continue to give him strength. After speaking to my parents separately, it became evident that they were content with whatever God had in store for them. God is good!
My little shadow had returned.
There are a couple of children in our Sunday school class who are quite a handful. Everyone has them in their classes, and my class is no exception. The odd thing is that they are brothers and sister: Nayely, Felix, and Jhonathan. I have been praying for them for quite a while, asking God to soften their hearts towards the authority in Sunday school. Lately Nayely has been really interested when I witness.
I asked her if she wanted to learn more, as she always seems disinterested in class when it is being taught. This particular Saturday afternoon, she had done her hair and put on a clean yellow sweater. I knew something was up, as she wouldn’t leave my side. She was my little shadow that day. We came to a group of kids, and I asked her if she wanted to hear how I witnessed to them. She shied away and walked to my wife. I started to speak to them and then noticed that my little shadow had returned. She was actually mouthing the Bible verses as I quoted them. She had actually been paying attention in class. That day she was able to see 6 children bow their heads and accept Christ as their Saviour. I pray that her desire for witnessing may increase.
To be continued . . .
I am thankful for praying and giving friends such as you. If it weren’t for you, my family and I would not be able to be here in Lima, Peru. We love you and pray for you often. I pray that the Lord continues to bless you and your family.
I have included links below for more information and pictures of the various ministries of Team Peru (IBI). Please feel free to share them with friends and families who may ask, “Hey, what is Team Peru up to?”
• Safety for our family, our team leader Bro. Dan Hubbard, and the other families of Team Peru
• Additional monthly financial support
• Health for the families of Team Peru
• Travel mercies for the team families that will be traveling in the next couple of months
• That we find the correct vehicle for our family
• My dad’s recovery
• My grandmother on my mother’s side passed away the same time my dad was in the hospital.
• We have seen 26 souls saved.
• Sunday school class children are soul winning and bringing visitors to church.
• I had the opportunity to visit my dad in the hospital (https://youtu.be/8P-6QaIU7LU).
• Many friends and family came to visit my dad.
• We received a very generous love offering from Jeff and Bev Bollman from NEXT DAY PLUS (www.nextdayplus.com).
Thank you once again for your prayers and support.
Your co-laborers to Peru,
Abraham, Fabiola, Marco, Leilani, and Joaquin Avila